1785 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Whitehead

Anonymous, in Probationary Odes for the Laureateship (1785) ix-x.



At one time we find that great immortal genius, Mr. Thomas Shadwell, (better known by the names of Og and Mac Flecknoe) chaunting the prerogative praises of that blessed Aera. — At a nearer period, we observe the whole force of Colley Cibber's genius, devoted to the labours of the same reputable employment. — And finally, in the example of a Whitehead's Muse, expatiating on the virtues of our gracious Sovereign, have we not beheld the best of Poets, in the best of verses, doing ample justice to the best of Kings? — The fire of Lyric Poesy, the rapid lightning of modern Pindarics, were equally required to record the Virtues of the Stuarts, or to immortalize the Talents of a Brunswick. — On either theme there was ample subject for the boldest flights of inventive genius, the full scope for the most daring powers of poetical creation; from the free unfettered strain of liberty, in honour of Charles the First, to the kindred Genius and congenial Talents that immortalize the wisdom and worth of George the Third.